Will Heat Remake Human Biology

Vertigo

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#2
We are no longer subject to the same genetic survival of the fittest filter. We don't let people die because they don't perform quite as well in the environment compared to others.

However it is far more likely, in my opinion, that, should we need to adapt to a different (warmer) environment we would engineer it genetically ourselves.
 

Montero

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#3
Um. We save people to the best level of medicine that can be afforded by the individual/nation. So that will vary across the world.
Also, every year people die, especially the very young or old people or those with other health problems, when there are prolonged heat waves or cold spells. So, depending on whether you are talking someone who is pre-having kids, then I think that there is still selection going on. (And incidentally, the killer is when the nights are hot as well as the days - no respite.)
 

Vertigo

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#4
There will always be some deaths attributable directly to the climate and, as you say, more so in some parts of the world but I'm not sure it will be enough to drive that kind of evolution. Also, particularly in those poorer parts of the world, I suspect far more will be dying from starvation than directly heat related issues. And then natural evolutionary effects will take a very long time. Not centuries, not even thousands of years probably not even tens of thousands; physically I doubt there's much to tell us apart from humans of say fifty thousand years ago. Some differences but not very significant ones. It can happen faster but only under massive environmental pressure like extinction events. Which of course this could turn into but if it gets that bad then I think we are talking total collapse of civilisation and then full on survival of the fittest will be back in force.

Otherwise I think it's far more likely we'll take matters into our own hands tweaking our genetic code ourselves.
 

Venusian Broon

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#5
There will always be some deaths attributable directly to the climate and, as you say, more so in some parts of the world but I'm not sure it will be enough to drive that kind of evolution. Also, particularly in those poorer parts of the world, I suspect far more will be dying from starvation than directly heat related issues. And then natural evolutionary effects will take a very long time. Not centuries, not even thousands of years probably not even tens of thousands; physically I doubt there's much to tell us apart from humans of say fifty thousand years ago. Some differences but not very significant ones. It can happen faster but only under massive environmental pressure like extinction events. Which of course this could turn into but if it gets that bad then I think we are talking total collapse of civilisation and then full on survival of the fittest will be back in force.

Otherwise I think it's far more likely we'll take matters into our own hands tweaking our genetic code ourselves.
Disagree, we have significantly evolved in the last fifty thousand years - ability to tolerate milk, alcohol tolerance, blonde hair are just the first things that spring to mind that probably only came into existence in the past 10,000 years.

Also 'survival of the fittest is pretty old-fashioned term in the way that you use it. I don't think any modern evolutionist would think that way anymore. We are still evolving - there are plenty of other evolutionary pressures.

Anyway OT, the change in temperatures may be far too fast for us to naturally evolve - like most plant and other life. Some parts of the world are approaching 'wet bulb' temperature maximums which if sustained will be ecologically catastrophic. Rather than genetic tinkering, I can only see technological stop gaps trying to mitigate the worst.
 

Vertigo

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#6
Disagree, we have significantly evolved in the last fifty thousand years - ability to tolerate milk, alcohol tolerance, blonde hair are just the first things that spring to mind that probably only came into existence in the past 10,000 years.

Also 'survival of the fittest is pretty old-fashioned term in the way that you use it. I don't think any modern evolutionist would think that way anymore. We are still evolving - there are plenty of other evolutionary pressures.

Anyway OT, the change in temperatures may be far too fast for us to naturally evolve - like most plant and other life. Some parts of the world are approaching 'wet bulb' temperature maximums which if sustained will be ecologically catastrophic. Rather than genetic tinkering, I can only see technological stop gaps trying to mitigate the worst.
Yes you're probably right about that; I was really just trying to stress the different timescales that I think these things are happening over, which of course is the challenge for all life not just us. I can't imagine any biological evolutionary process working over the timescales that global warming looks like happening over. Especially with this new Hothouse Earth announcement I heard today on the radio: Risk of 'Hothouse Earth' despite CO2 cuts. Nothing much new in the idea of a tipping point but suggesting we might only have another 1 degree of temperature in hand before reaching that point is rather alarming.
 

Venusian Broon

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#7
Yes you're probably right about that; I was really just trying to stress the different timescales that I think these things are happening over, which of course is the challenge for all life not just us. I can't imagine any biological evolutionary process working over the timescales that global warming looks like happening over. Especially with this new Hothouse Earth announcement I heard today on the radio: Risk of 'Hothouse Earth' despite CO2 cuts. Nothing much new in the idea of a tipping point but suggesting we might only have another 1 degree of temperature in hand before reaching that point is rather alarming.
Proper direct action will only be done when significant loss of life occurs, and by that stage it will probably be too late to do anything but try and mitigate the effects of events that will take hundreds of years to play out. Probably :(
 

Onyx

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#8
Most environmental changes result in species extinction, not adaptation. There is little reason to believe that human beings, when technology is not interceding, are any more likely to adapt to significantly deadly environmental changes than the dodo. Especially since our generations are 20 years.
 

Vertigo

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#9
Proper direct action will only be done when significant loss of life occurs, and by that stage it will probably be too late to do anything but try and mitigate the effects of events that will take hundreds of years to play out. Probably :(
I kind of wanted to 'like' that post but somehow 'like' doesn't seem appropriate; there's really not much to actually like about it. We really need an 'agree' button as well as a like!
 

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